Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Six Month Update

As of today, we've been on the road for 180 days.  That's 6 months of traveling through foreign lands with only each other, our electronics and Twinny Brown and Twinny Orange to keep us company.  So how has it been going?  What have we learned?  Do we still like each other?





Here's a recent photo in which we still appear to like each other, despite Dave's lack of hair.
The Stats:
 
In 6 months we have visited 11 countries (Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Germany, Austria, UK and India) on 4 continents.  We have slept in 54 different beds in hostels, hotels, guesthouses and apartments, and spent 2 nights on trains, 5 nights on buses, 6 nights on boats, 3 nights on planes, one night in a Bedouin tent and one night under the stars.  Dave has been mistaken for a local in 2 countries.  





A night on a bus.  A wonderful bus.
The Marriage:
 
We have spent a LOT of time together.  Often we don't even need to talk to have complete conversations.  "This reminds me of that time that--."  "Yeah, but it's not so--.". "Yeah, that's true.". We often find out from other people that we have each separately said the same exact thing to them.  At this point we have figured out what it is that we each do best.  Jesse is better at the planning ahead, selecting a general itinerary and booking hotels (see: the time Dave booked us at an "airport hotel" in Cairo during the protests that actually required us to drive an hour away from the airport, through the entire city).  Dave is better at negotiating discounts and navigating us from place to place (hence, Dave is Director of Maps, and Jesse is Assistant Director of Maps, except for those times she is demoted to Assistant to the Director of Maps).  Division of labor is quite useful for reducing day-to-day stress-related bickering.  We think we've gotten much better at communicating since there is literally nowhere to hide from each other.  And let's just say that bathroom issues that would once have been considered private are now major discussions topics between us.




Renewing our vows (we think?) in Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt.
Our Health:

We've both suffered through the colds and bugs that you would expect from constantly being exposed to new and abundant germs while traveling.  And as expected we've seen our share of stomach ailments, especially since we've gotten to India.  We do a lot of walking and hiking, and we carry around a jump rope and resistance bands and occasionally we even use them.  Despite all the delicious food we've enjoyed we're at or below the weight we were when we left home (maybe we can thank India's, um, cleansing food).  


Yeah, we're pretty sporty


Highs and Lows:

Everyone has asked us about our favorite part of the trip so far, and wow, there are so many.  Some highlights have been the steak and wine in Argentina, trekking in Patagonia, seeing our friends in Cape Town, skiing in Dubai and Austria, exploring Petra, the relaxing Nile Cruise and visiting the Taj Mahal.  The lows?  J's crazy seasonal allergies in Buenos Aires, the non-stop hassle in Egypt and India and getting sick in Goa.  We are also not fans of the ubiquitous wet bathroom - that is, where the shower head is in the middle of the bathroom and the whole thing gets sopping wet.  We have yet to embrace the use of the handheld water sprayer as an alternative to toilet paper despite Dave's regular (and always slightly awkward) questioning of homestay hosts, hotel managers, and even other guests about optimum technique and usage. It remains a mystery to us. 



Obligatory steak photo
What's Next?:

The blog:  Get ready for a lot of posts about our 6 weeks in India.  We have some amazing photos, ridiculous stories and a lot of thoughts about our love-hate relationship with this crazy country.  One of these days we may even catch up to the present day.  In the meantime, we're trying to post some photos on facebook as we go along.

The trip:  We'll be spending about 3 weeks in Thailand, enjoying the modern conveniences of Bangkok, checking out the beaches, and hopefully doing some volunteering up north.  Then we head back west to Nepal to hike the legendary Annapurna Circuit with our friends Ted and Sarah (from Patagonia and the Garden Route) and their friends.  After that we'll fly back to southeast Asia to do some more exploring and longer-term volunteering.  Recommendations, suggestions and visits are all welcome!

Do you have any questions about our 6 months of travel?  Leave them in the comments and we'll answer them!

7 comments:

  1. Loved this post! Can't believe you're already at the 6 month mark. We need a Skype date...it's been too long!

    I'd also like to know how you managed to keep any bathroom issues private after living in a 1 bedroom (and, more importantly, 1 bathroom) NYC apartment for 5 years.

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  2. Wow, that went by really quickly. Miss you guys!

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  3. Sam - At least our bathroom in NYC has an actual door, unlike a number of bathrooms we have shared in the past six months.

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  4. Jesse, the Meshkov GI tract is a very common topic in our household as I surmise it probably is in yours, too, especially after eating some of those foods in India. I enjoyed your 6 month perspective. How was the dental cleaning?

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  5. Excellent post - if you ever figure out the hand-held bathroom sprayer thing, let me know (I've never understood it, either).

    If you can make it to Luang Prabang, Laos, it's one of my favorite places in the world and home to a charity we really liked, Big Brother Mouse (http://www.bigbrothermouse.com/).

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  6. I can't wait to hear about your experiences in India! Feel you on the food...we ate nothing by white rice and naan for 10 days and still felt queesie...

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  7. 6 months already!!? I can't believe you've been gone so long:( But a trip to visit you guys in June is a great incentive to getting through boards studying! Where will you be?

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